Five highly trained commandos belonging to an elite unit of the Indian Army were killed along the Line of Control in Kashmir after an intense close-quarter fight with an militants, who had infiltrated into Keran sector, Indian Army said on Monday.
The encounter took place in the Keran sector on Sunday with all five militants killed.
The bodies of the commandos and the militants were found barely two to three metres from each other, an Indian Army officer said.
In a statement on Monday, the army said all five militants were killed in “an intense hand-to-hand battle."
“The Indian Army launched a daring operation at the LoC (Line of Control) and engaged infiltrators in a close-quarter battle in heavy snow, killed the entire infiltrating batch of five. Four commandos under the command of a junior commissioned officer from one of the most professional Para SF (Special Forces) units were heli-dropped near the LoC after information on the infiltrators was received," the statement said.
While three of the commandos died during the encounter two others died as they were being airlifted to a military hospital.
The operation to intercept the infiltrators began on 1 April when patrolling troops reported footprints near the LoC fence that was covered under snow, the officer cited above said.
The army then quickly deployed search teams but extremely difficult terrain and inclement weather prevented any engagement. That’s when the commandos from 4 Para (SF) were called in to take over the operation, he said.
Based on visuals from unmanned aerial vehicles, the commandos were ferried to the nearest battalion headquarters by air as the location was cut off due to heavy snow in the area.
In the early hours of Sunday, the five commandos began following footmarks in the snow and several hours later reached a water channel. The commandos split up into two groups with one of them not realizing that they were on a cornice.
“The complete snow block collapsed taking the squad leader and the two scouts down all the way to the channel where the militants were sitting... It led to a close-quarter battle at virtually point blank range," the officer said.
In the ensuing engagement, the five commandos and five militants were killed.
The deceased commandos were identified as Subedar Sanjeev Kumar, Havaldar Davendra Singh, Bal Krishan, Amit Kumar and Chhatrapal Singh.